The Steps Involved in a Drug Treatment Program

by | May 4, 2012 | Drug Abuse

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Addiction can be devastating to the lives of addicts—as well as those who are closest to them. A severe addiction can transform one’s personality to the point that even their immediate families no longer recognize the person they’ve become.

Given the rates of relapse, many people question the effectiveness of treatment. However, there are a lot of people whose lives have been changed for the better as a result of completing these rehab programs. The programs carry out the rehabilitation process in multiple steps which involve mental, physical and emotional treatment to help addicts overcome addiction and prevent a relapse. There are many reasons that can cause a person to resort to drugs or alcohol to ‘escape’ the real situation. Drug treatment and the rehabilitation process help addicts to identify and deal with the underlying causes of addiction.


The rehabilitation process begins with detoxification of the patient’s body. Drug treatment using non addictive drugs is often used to reduce the body’s dependency and prevent severe withdrawal symptoms. This is usually the most difficult stage for patients, as they can experience withdrawal symptoms like depression and sickness which can cause violent mood swings and erratic behavior. This is also the stage where most addicts fail in their rehab process, though successful completion of this stage can dramatically improve the chances of complete rehabilitation.


The second step of the rehab process includes individual and group therapy, and during which recovering addicts live in a drug treatment center with other recovering addicts. Therapy is divided into group therapy and individual therapy to address different aspects of the problem. Therapy sessions help patients to learn to deal with their stress without resorting to alcohol or drugs. When this is combined with physical activities, it improves the patient’s sense of well being and reduces the chances of a relapse.

Outpatient Therapy

The final step in the rehab process is outpatient therapy. At this stage, the patient has regained greater control over his or her urges to resort to any form of substance to deal with stress. Patients resume their normal lives in society, but stay involved with their counselor and regularly attend group support sessions at Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. These interactions provide support to the patient and improve the patient’s ability to deal with any form of stress that may trigger the urge to use.

Time Frame

There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment length for addiction, as the need of each individual can vary significantly. While most programs are for a set length of time, some may stay longer if their doctors and counselors fell they need to put in more work in an inpatient setting before going home.


Recovering addicts may relapse for a variety of reasons. It is of the utmost importance for an individual to learn necessary coping mechanisms while in treatment. The treatment programs focus on imparting such skills as well as providing continued support during aftercare.


Drug rehab can be a long and difficult process. It takes time, understanding and patience—not only from the addict but from his or her loved ones as well. A commitment to the process is the first step, and a crucial one for successful recovery.

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